Theresa Baumann has been trying to retire for the last several months, but it’s just not sticking. And now she is mulling the possibility of entering state politics.
The elected official for the community Baumann lives in — HD 115 — is unable to run again in 2020 due to term-limits. Since 2013, Republican Rep. Elaine Gannon has represented St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, and Jefferson counties. With the seat open during the 2020 election, Baumann, a Republican, is considering throwing her hat in the race.
“I just recently sold two businesses. I kinda thought I was going to retire,” Baumann told The Missouri Times. “But I am 55 years old, and I just feel like I am not finished yet. My goal is just to do whatever I can for the people in my district. I am a community-minded woman, and I like moving mountains.”
An entrepreneur by trade, Baumann started her first business out of her garage. Over the next two decades, she grew her dance studio into a sustainable business — with its own space. She also spent nearly a decade owning and running a convenience store, which she expanded to two. She has worked as a substitute teacher and as a Parents as Teachers (PAT) educator.
Baumann’s time as an educator got her very passionate about Missouri’s education system.
“We need someone who will fight for our schools and make sure they are receiving the resources they need to provide our children with a world-class education,” Baumann said. “Teachers need to be more empowered to teach and not to simply focus on the standardized test.”
Heavily involved in her community, Baumann has spent countless hours volunteering. She has been a foster mother, an advocate for Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), active with United Way, a foundation board member with a local hospital, and more. Baumann noted she lives by the motto: “Don’t just live in a community, be part of the community.”
While she never has run for office before, Baumann said politics has always been a point of interest for her. She noted her uncle was a state representative in the early 1980s, and her mother was the Washington County assessor for 16 years.
“I have lived a life that has touched on so many things — from business to education to foster care,” Baumann said, adding she thinks those life lessons would translate well to the General Assembly.
“I have known Teresa since my daughter took dance lessons from her more than 20 years ago. She is a vibrant member of the community — a great person, a great mother, and a successful small business owner,” former-Rep. Kevin Engler told The Missouri Times. “As county clerk running the election, I will not be endorsing anyone because I don’t think that’s proper. I have met two other people who are looking at the position and they seem like fine folks — though I’ve not known them long. I’m sure we will be well served by whoever wins.”
Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at firstname.lastname@example.org.